If you want to be a better communicator, say goodbye to these 7 habits

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Communication is the lifeblood of our personal and professional interactions, but often we find ourselves missing the mark.

You might find your words falling on deaf ears, or perhaps you’ve noticed that your messages often get misinterpreted.

How do you know if you’re a brilliant communicator or if your communication habits are holding you back?

After observing and analyzing countless conversations and interactions, I’ve compiled a list of 7 habits that could be sabotaging your communication efforts.

If these sound familiar, it might be time to reassess and reinvent your communication style.

1) Using jargon and technical terms excessively

Who doesn’t love showing off their extensive vocabulary or industry knowledge? But here’s the thing – communication isn’t about impressing others with your linguistic prowess or technical know-how.

It’s about getting your point across as clearly and effectively as possible.

When you overload your conversations with jargon, acronyms, or complicated terms, you run the risk of alienating your audience. They might nod along, pretending to understand while feeling completely lost. Or worse, they might just tune out completely.

Before you lace your next conversation with impressive sounding words, ask yourself: “Is this helping me clearly communicate my message or am I just trying to sound smart?”

If it’s the latter, it’s time to kick this habit to the curb. Remember, the best communicators make complex ideas simple, not the other way round.

2) Always having the last word

Sure, being assertive is key, no question about it. But here’s the thing – there’s a razor-thin line between assertiveness and outright dominance. If you’re always gunning for the last word in every conversation, chances are you’ve crossed that line.

I get it, it feels like you’re winning, right? But truth is, you might just be squashing any chance of real dialogue and making folks think twice about sharing their own thoughts.

Before you know it, people are clamming up and avoiding chats with you altogether.

Letting go of that urge to have the final say can be the smarter move. Giving space for others to fully air their ideas and respecting their perspectives is where the real magic happens.

It sets the stage for a more open, inclusive vibe where everyone feels like they’ve got a seat at the table.

3) Not making eye contact

Eye contact is one of those small, seemingly insignificant things that can have a huge impact on the quality of your communication. It’s a non-verbal cue that signals engagement, confidence, and respect.

When you avoid eye contact, it can send the wrong message. It could be interpreted as a sign of disinterest, lack of confidence, or even dishonesty.

Plus, maintaining eye contact is not just about showing others that you are present and engaged – it also helps you to read their facial expressions and gauge their reactions.

However, remember that there’s a difference between maintaining eye contact and staring – you don’t want to make people uncomfortable.

The key is to strike a balance that shows you’re attentive but not intrusive. If you’ve been neglecting this small yet crucial aspect of communication, it’s time to bid it goodbye!

4) Ignoring body language

Following on from that, did you know that a significant portion of our communication is nonverbal? It’s not just about what you say, but also how you say it and what your body is doing while you’re speaking.

Our postures, gestures, and facial expressions can reveal a lot about our thoughts and feelings. For instance, crossed arms might suggest defensiveness, while a relaxed posture indicates openness.

Ignoring body language means missing out on these important cues that can give us deeper insights into the message being conveyed.

And it’s not just about understanding others’ body language – being aware of your own can help you communicate more effectively too.

5) Brushing off feedback

Feedback is a gift, although it might not always feel like it. It’s easy to take criticism personally, feel defensive, and brush it off.

But the truth is, without feedback, growth is impossible.

Whether it’s a colleague pointing out a mistake in your presentation, a friend telling you that your comments hurt their feelings, or your boss suggesting an improvement in your work approach – each piece of feedback is an opportunity for growth.

Instead of dismissing feedback, embrace it. Yes, it can be uncomfortable and even painful at times. But it’s through this discomfort that we learn, improve, and become better communicators.

So the next time someone offers you feedback, don’t brush it off. Listen, reflect, and use it as a stepping stone to become a better version of yourself.

6) Talking more than listening

When it comes to communication, most people think it’s all about speaking well.

But here’s a little secret – the best communicators are often the best listeners.

True communication is a two-way street. It’s not just about broadcasting your thoughts and ideas, but also about listening to what others have to say.

When you dominate the conversation and barely give others a chance to speak, you miss out on their perspectives and insights.

Thus, even though it might seem odd, try talking less and listening more. Show genuine interest in what others have to say. Ask questions. Encourage them to share their thoughts. You might be surprised at how much you learn and how much richer your conversations become.

7) Using negative language

The words we choose in our communication play a crucial role in setting the tone of our conversations. If you consistently use negative language, it can create a gloomy atmosphere and deter others from engaging with you.

Negative language includes phrases like “I can’t”, “It’s impossible”, “That’s a bad idea”, or “I don’t know”. While it’s okay to express doubts and uncertainties, constantly leaning towards negativity can make your conversations unproductive and draining.

My advice? Replace the negative phrases with positive or neutral ones. Instead of saying “I can’t”, say “I’ll try”. Instead of “It’s impossible”, say “Let’s find a way”.

This simple shift in language can significantly improve your communication and make your interactions more positive and uplifting.

The art of effective communication

Communication goes way beyond just passing along information. It’s about tapping into the emotions and intentions wrapped up in that info. See, it’s not just about having a silver tongue; it’s about mastering the art of listening, understanding, and responding like a pro.

Effective communication is all about finding that sweet spot – knowing when to speak up, when to zip it, and how to package your thoughts in a way that clicks with your audience.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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